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Mike Hawthorn, D Type, Le Mans course 1956

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  • Mike Hawthorn, D Type, Le Mans course 1956

    Mike Hawthorn, Jim Clark, Stirling Moss were the idols of my boyhood.

    The Le Mans course was open to regular traffic while the race cars were practicing. As we see here. The short video shows one lap in the D Type with a camera attached and Hawthorn giving a running commentary. He makes several comments about the improved safety on a track that still looks horribly dangerous to our eyes now.

    edit. sorry it is a cool video which won't play here. don't understand why.

    You'll find it here:
    Last edited by Bikerjulio; 01-06-2019, 02:15 PM. Reason: fix name spelling

  • #2
    That is a fascinating video! Ohhh, how the times have changed! But not in the sense that cars are all that much faster now then back then but the metrics of the course and the way it's handled. And look at the microphone!!!


    • #3
      A few thoughts:

      1. Very cool video, indeed.
      2. Did you notice his hand position on the steering wheel? A lot of the time he was gripping a spoke, rather than the rim. My driver's ed teacher would not have approved.
      3. Geez, can you imagine racing on that track: no Armco, trees right to the edge of the road, mailboxes, telephone poles.... (And two-way traffic! )
      4. And just think. The C7, with power everything, stereo, A/C, and a full factory warranty would be faster around that track than the race cars of that era. On street tires!
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      • #4
        Some little bits about the D Type.

        Won Le Mans 1955, 56, and 57.

        Engine was a variant of the DOHC straight six that had started as a prewar design. 3.4 liters, and in this application dry-sumped to reduce height.

        Frame was a monocoque center tub with subframes at both ends. Brakes were discs all round.

        Max speed approached 180 MPH.

        Total production is thought to have included 18 factory team D-Types, 53 customer cars and 16 XKSS versions (a road-legal conversion).

        A 1955 car was sold for $19,800,000 in 2016.

        Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by Bikerjulio; 01-06-2019, 02:22 PM.


        • #5
          Those cars were very fast! Some could easily go 200 mph. It was the aerodynamics that prevented then using what they had for speed (i.e. - no downforce).


          • #6
            Instead of a horizontal spoiler for down force, it had a vertical stabilizer to counter act the car getting sideways.